Thanks, In­ter­net

Re “The de­cline of our dis­course,” ed­i­to­rial June 4

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

When per­sonal com­put­ers and the In­ter­net be­came ubiq­ui­tous, ci­vil­ity was dealt a fi­nal blow. It’s so easy to be nasty and cruel sit­ting at a key­board, never see­ing what im­pact the nas­ti­ness and vul­gar­ity are hav­ing on the re­cip­i­ents of such mis­sives.

When fam­i­lies stopped hav­ing at least din­ner to­gether at the same time and at the same ta­ble, sim­ple man­ners stopped be­ing taught; or­di­nary cour­te­sies like “please” and “thank you” seem not to have been taught in years. The art and grace of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are dead.

It was said decades ago that “small minds dis­cuss peo­ple; av­er­age minds dis­cuss events; great minds dis­cuss ideas.” Modernly, as the New Yorker car­toon put it, “On the In­ter­net, no­body knows you’re a dog.” Stephany Yablow North Hol­ly­wood

Day af­ter day, the front­page head­lines of your news­pa­per ring with neg­a­tiv­ity to­ward the pres­i­dent and his poli­cies.

For peo­ple who take the time to read, this ed­i­to­rial im­bal­ance of cov­er­age mas­querad­ing as news alien­ates and angers those who ac­cept the out­come of the elec­tion. At the same time, it fu­els the angst of those who do not.

Now, your ed­i­to­rial board at­tempts to come to the res­cue by telling us “we must do bet­ter.” Your news­pa­per is in a per­fect po­si­tion to lead the way. Judd Frank

La­guna Niguel

As The Times avers, the de­cline of our na­tional dis­course should alarm us all. Whom to blame may be fairly de­bated.

Trump, for his part, par­layed as­tute read­ing of an in­creas­ingly dumb­ed­down, tit­il­la­tion-seek­ing pub­lic into stun­ning cam­paign suc­cesses. Once the GOP can­di­date de­bates de­volved into name-call­ing — and kept au­di­ences en­thralled — there was no stop­ping a re­al­ity-TV huck­ster.

Democrats, for all the ci­vil­ity of their party’s de­bates, could only cringe and hope that san­ity pre­vailed at the polls. No such luck. Since Pres­i­dent Trump as­sumed of­fice, Democrats and in­de­pen­dents have had abun­dant cause to per­ceive an ex­is­ten­tial threat to democ­racy. Who can fault them for aban­don­ing ci­vil­ity?

If Trump “fol­lows the cul­ture as much as he leads it,” he en­cour­aged in­ci­vil­ity as the new stan­dard for dis­course. San­dra Perez

Santa Maria

You write, “There’s a ten­dency on the left to lay this at the feet of Trump, but that is facile.”

Agreed. But say­ing that misses the point of the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ers in our so­ci­ety to be role mod­els for pub­lic ci­vil­ity.

Our par­ents, teach­ers and other lead­ers model be­hav­ior for us. Their in­flu­ence doesn’t nor­mally bounce away from us; but rather, it serves as an en­dur­ing bench­mark to live our lives re­spon­si­bly — to lis­ten and be tol­er­ant ob­jec­tive and al­ways open and hon­est with oth­ers. Those char­ac­ter­is­tics are to­day of­ten miss­ing from the lead­ers who help con­struct us as in­di­vid­u­als.

So please, don’t let Trump off the hook.

And while we’re dis­cussing the in­flu­ence, I should point out some­thing ob­vi­ous: Mem­bers of the gen­der known for tol­er­ance and ad­dress­ing prob­lems with words and not vi­o­lence are aw­fully un­der­rep­re­sented in both pub­lic and pri­vate-sec­tor lead­er­ship. Don­ald Funk

Re­dondo Beach

Ed­uardo Munoz Al­varez Getty Im­ages

A PO­LICE of­fi­cer tries to sep­a­rate pro- and an­tiTrump ac­tivists in New York on April 29.

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